Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mint Condition - A Book Review

Many, many months ago David Jamieson contacted me about sending me a copy of his book Mint Condition.  I quickly accepted.  When the book arrived, I cleared my reading schedule and dove into it.

Fresh writing.  Clear writing.  Engaging subject.  I couldn't get enough.  The need to get up for work the next morning was the only thing that prevented me from finishing the book that evening.

I had a cursory knowledge of some of the history of cards and collectors, but Dave went deep and pulled out some great interviews.  I liked the chapter about the history of Topps and Sy Berger.  Dave does a nice job with his descriptions and pulled me right into the Topps offices.

The chapter that dealt with collector Michael Gidwitz, although very interesting, had a bit of rough language.  These were not Dave's words, but he was quoting Gidwitz.  For that, I wouldn't recommend this book to a young collector.  But there are a variety of different collectors and Gidwitz is one of them and his story is no less important than yours or mine.  He just has a lot more money than we do.

The Upper Deck chapter was similar to Pete Williams' Card Sharks, which was much more thorough.  But that was a whole book.  This is just a chapter.

The pages devoted to Kevin Saucier will frighten you.  In a good way.  For more information on Kevin's work, visit AlteredCards.com.

If you don't have time to read this whole book, read at least chapter 4, Cartophilia.  This deals with the work of  Jefferson Burdick, the father of  modern card cataloging.  Without his persistence I don't want to think about where we'd be in the hobby.

So, go and buy a copy of Dave Jamieson's Mint Condition.  Then find a few hours by yourself and read it.  Let it seep in.  And then don't wait as long as I did to tell other about it.

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